Seattle Animal Shelter officers are investigating two separate cases of animal starvation in the Puget Sound region after the discovery of three starving pit bull breeds this month.

Two of the emaciated and dehydrated dogs, who are 1 to 2 years old and possibly littermates, were found on Aug. 14 in South King County, according to a statement released Thursday by the Humane Society of the United States, which is offering $5,000 to anyone with information that leads to a conviction.

The third, a starving, weak, 8- to 10-month-old puppy, was found just outside Pritchard Beach Park near 55th Avenue South and South Cloverdale Street in Seattle earlier this week, the society said. Officials said they believe the dog had been confined to an area in which it was unable to move.

“When found the (younger) dog weighed only 18 pounds. After two and a half weeks, the dog gained 8 pounds — simply from being fed,” said Ann Graves, Seattle Animal Shelter director. “We believe it had been confined, meaning someone did this to the dog. This is inhumane and illegal, and we hope someone in the community who knows something will come forward.”

According to the Humane Society, there is a well-documented connection between animal cruelty and violence toward humans.

The Seattle Animal Shelter is asking anyone with information about any of the three dogs to call Field Services Supervisor Brandi Homeier at 206-386-1985 or the main shelter information line at 206-386-PETS (7387).

First-degree animal cruelty is a Class C felony punishable by five years in prison, a $10,000 fine or both.